The Mighty Utopia: Focal Utopia Revisted

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. saint.panda

    saint.panda Friend

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    The Stellaris (and by extension likely Stratus/Starlett) has an uncanny synergy with the Utopia. Comparing the Bifrost 2 to the Wavedream, technical differences notwithstanding, I can see where the mellow / lack of bite observation comes from, but it's slight and not the variable I'd optimize for given everything else. Piercing stuff will still sound piercing (especially with the Utopia!), just not every time strangely and somewhat depending on the record. I will say that Wavedream + Stellaris + HD6xx sometimes feels like too much of a good thing on the inner bloom / warmth, but that's complaining on a high level.
     
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  2. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    That would be a good test because the Utopia is quite a bit sharper than Focal’s tweeters. Which are more tolerable for me than say B&W and Seas/Tympany metal domes yet not detailed and reactive enough.
     
  3. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    FWIW, the ECP T4 + Wavelight is fantastic with the Utopia.
     
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  4. animus

    animus Facebook Friend

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    Oh yeah, it's definitely not the only thing I'm looking at tuning around. I am still somewhat mixed about the laidback nature of the Wavedream in comparison to Schiit's incisive presentation though, especially because I tend to like incision in the first place. There will be a period where I will be living with the BF2 directly substituted for the Wavedream in my setup regardless, so it's either something I will still dislike and choose to counteract on the amp end, or something that I will learn to live with and end up preferring to the Schiit presentation in the long run.

    The DNA stuff I've heard lots of good things about though. One of the slight weaknesses of the Rockna stuff (particularly the Wavelight, though I'm told the Wavedream isn't much better at this) is sheer bass heft, and I'm told that the DNA amps do a good job of giving the Utopia extra weight on the low end. Definitely something I'm eager to check out.
    Definitely interested in ECP stuff as well. I originally was looking into a 3F, but I've been curious about the Utopia with tubes and a setup overhaul like this is a good chance to experiment and see what works. Not that it's out of the running, but there are certainly other amps that have my interest as well. Looks like there's lots of stuff I'm going to have to hear before settling on anything.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  5. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Acquaintance

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    It seems that the hype for Utopia has recently comes back stronger at least in headphone community in Indonesia and Singapore. The same thing happened with the HD800 too.

    Maybe I should try to listen to them again but based on memories they sound excellent but doesn't make sense value wise because the Susvara cost almost the same and seem to perform better.
     
  6. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    I've been biting my tongue/fingers until I got a little more time with my setup, but the SFD-1 -> T3 -> Clear is working very well. I can imagine the T4 + Wavelight + Utopia would be nice.
     
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  7. poohlikehoney

    poohlikehoney Rando

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    I'm expecting a starlett within the next month or 2. If you are interested to hear it we could work something out.
     
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  8. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    ECP DSHA-3F. I wouldn't pair with a DNA if you want incisiveness; DNA stuff is amazing and I f***ing love my Starlett to bits, but a word I'd never associate with it is incisive. DNA sound is more along the lines of being calmly composed, gentle, and slightly tubey (but not warmpoo or relaxed like some of the old ampsandsound and Cavalli stuff).

    If you absolutely need get a hard-on for tubes, perhaps something like ZMF Pendant would be fine. I've heard some good things about it, and since the Pendant is an ultralinear amp, it should have sonic character more along the lines of being clean and straight (a lot like DSHA-3F). I have not heard this amp personally though, but hope to get a chance to hear one in the near future.
     
  9. Darkstar1

    Darkstar1 Acquaintance

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    Incisiveness is a great term for describing the Utopia sound. I personnel really like the headphones ability to be incisive yet completely musical and effortless in sound. It so smooth between frequency changes but somehow avoids becoming so liquid to sound artificial even if that can be pleasant.
     
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